In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.
After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.
While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.
If I don’t hit it off with a novel right away – if I’m not feeling ‘it’ – it’ll be difficult to turn that feeling around and, unfortunately, that’s what happened when I started reading The Furies. The fact is that for some reason I didn’t take in some of the narrative in certain paragraphs and I had to go back and reread parts of the story. I believe the reason for this could be because of the lyrical and descriptive writing style and the plot didn’t really capture my attention after the – I must admit – wonderful first chapter.
I loved the rich history of the school and how the author broached the Greek mythology in the story but the characters fell flat for me and weren’t all that interesting. The plotline involves four girls (Violet, Robin, Alex and Grace) but in reality there are only two stealing the show which are Robin and ‘Vivi’. These girls have quite a toxic relationship where one is being manipulated by the other and I should maybe have felt for Violet but she didn’t really say or do anything to make me care for her very much.
There was even one disturbing scene where she was involved (I might say it merits a trigger warning) and it didn’t sit well with me at all, not her behaviour at the time but I was appalled by her reaction afterwards as well. Let’s just say that her way to deal with a situation was taking revenge with some witchcraft where she should have acted rationally. I do love young adult and have enjoyed many novels in this genre before but I feel this one must be for younger readers. I know I was looking too hard into their actions and struggling with the decision-making in the novel so much I wasn’t able to really enjoy it like I should have. The Furies contains storylines of peer pressure, revenge and assault so it does touch on some interesting and not so easy topics but the girls are naïve and the surface was only scratched for me, I was not able to feel the emotions that such tough subjects could provoke.
The Furies reminded me of tv shows as Pretty Little Liars and The Craft, and it does show some similarities so if you really enjoy voodoo-doll and animal sacrifice rituals then you’ll find the storyline to your liking. I think this might work better for me as a tv show.
I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.